Gay Teen Commits Suicide: “The Kids At School Are Right, I’m A Loser, A Freak And A Fag”


Carlos Vigil, 17, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was an anti-bullying advocate, but over the weekend he took his own life — the apparent victim of what he fought against.

Carlos was to be a senior at Valley High in the fall, where he transferred last year to escape bullying at Los Lunas High School. He had been picked on for his weight, his acne, his glasses and according to the suicide note he left on Twitter on Saturday, for being gay.

Carlos’ mother Jacqueline, told KRQE that her son had been victimized since he was at least eight years old.

“He had this lunchbox, a smiley face lunchbox, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it,” she said. “They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It’s just little things like that.”

As a member of Youth and Government, Carlos pushed for stronger anti-bullying laws. Before Carlos published his suicide note, his friends said he had just returned from a trip out-of-state where he had spoken out against bullying.

“Words can really hurt and I think Carlos…he couldn’t do it anymore,” said Patricia Valles, one of dozens of Carlos’ classmates who showed up to the hospital Monday where he was on life support.

Carlos was taken off of life support early Tuesday morning after his organs had been donated, as he had wished. His parents will try to keep his story and his message alive, in hopes that their son didn’t die in vain. For now his Twitter account will remain open to raise bullying awareness.

Meanwhile, Carlos’ peers have held fundraisers to help his family and have been inspired in the face of tragedy. “Even though now Carlos is gone, we need to focus on what he left trying to say,” said former classmate Alyssa Cisneros, “that bullying is a problem.”

Photo: Carlos Vigil

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  • Cam

    That poor Poor boy. That has to be one of the saddest notes.

  • yaoming

    I thought it was Obama in a hoodie like that MLK in a hoodie picture that’s been going around.
    The story make me cry. I wish I could have met this young man.

  • RafsDad

    I am so sorry for this brave young man. I’s unfortunate that,in death, he will know how many people really cared about him.

  • Polaro

    Kids can be real bastards. Adults need to pay better attention, including teachers.

  • B Damion

    So sad. I would have liked to say “it gets better” but, does it really? The gay community isn’t any better. He would have been ridiculed just the same. In my experience gay men have inflicted just as much hate if not more towards each other.

    I only wish he maybe had more support or a steady hand telling him that he is loved and matters. This is very very sad. I hope his loved ones can find peace.

  • wonderpup

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear it is that we are powerful beyond measure”. It breaks my heart that this young man couldn’t feel this.

  • Cam

    @B Damion:

    Really? In YOUR experience gay men have inflicted MORE hate? Funny then that the suicide rate plummets after these kids get out of school and come out then isn’t it?

    Not getting dates on a Friday Night is not the same things as being beaten, forced to switch schools for your safety etc…

    A little less hyperbole please.

  • Steven

    I am in tears over this. It happens way too often. Carlos will live on in my heart and I hope to some how find a way to end bullying of all youths in the memory of all the children lost to soon to bullying

  • B Damion

    Thank you for proving my point Cam.
    it doesn’t matter if your Fat,Skinny,Black, White, Gay,etc… someone will hate you for it. Look folks, the media is trying to make it seem like bullying is something new. this S**t has been around for ages. These kids are being raised soft. I survived the worst kind of bullying so did a lot of other people. I mean come on. I am not trying to be hurtful but bullying is nothing new.
    Look, cam is bullying me now and we are meen to eachother on this forum almost everytime i try to leave a comment. jesus!

  • Rob

    @B Damion: Re: Cam’s Comment. See, B Damion, it’s cool as long as you don’t kill yourself. You can be a nasty bitch like Savage and still command adoration as long as you pronounce yourself the bullying messiah. All you have to do is claim that you care more about it than anybody else and anything that conflicts with that doesn’t matter.

  • Scribe38

    I’m truly sorry for this kid. I tried the same thing when I was 14. I eventually got a chance to fall in love and be loved back. I wish I could do more than saying a prayer for him and giving up tears. I send all my love to his mom.

  • cancorv

    Are Carlos’ tormentors being counselled?

  • Larry

    When we lose people like this, the world loses and never recovers.

  • ntableman

    Ok…so this is VERY sad.

    I worry that what the real problem is that our politics and PC nonsense has accidentally taught people that what people think of you matters, and that words matter. The world is a rough place, not everyone is nice…I dont know how, but somehow we have to get these kids to realize that what others say does NOT matter.

    I dont know what the distinction is, but I drew and continue to draw immense strength from bring different, part of that is being gay, so what happens to make a kid like this think it is a liability in a way that would make him think that being different means he doesn’t get to live? I am not saying it is easy, but I saw it as a refuge not a liability.

    And don’t jump on me for blaming the victim, I am wondering how we help our kids to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…we need to teach them that what others think of you is completely immaterial to you self worth.

  • Doughosier

    So sad but it’s a cruel world and only the strong survive. Especially at that age.

  • Jayson

    I have to wonder if his parents also degraded him and made him feel this way? Regardless, this is a very sad end to a beautiful human life.

  • JMNYC5

    this bullying must end…it is heartbreaking that a person who was so full of love and engagement towards helping others feel better, never got the chance to feel the same love back…such devastating emptiness…

  • Kamuriie

    @B Damion:

    Fuck you, idiot.

  • B Damion

    @Kamuriie …Thats not nice. Be better than me if thats the case.

  • Gordon

    Dear God!

  • Teleny

    I feel bad for Carlos and his family.

    The thing that gets me is that every parent thinks their kid is ” a good kid,” but clearly, this kid was being bullied. That community should be ashamed.

  • Deepdow

    @B Damion:

    If someone criticizes you, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hateful nor does it prove any point you make. You incorrectly assumed something about that young man’s life : “He would have been ridiculed just the same” by gay people.

    Maybe from you?

  • B Damion

    “He had been picked on for his weight, his acne, his glasses and according to the suicide note he left on Twitter on Saturday, for being gay”.

    Where in my comments did I incorrectly assume anything about his life Deepdow? Did you even bother to read the post?

    I’m done!

  • ecllips

    @B Damion: Cam was not bullying you. He just pointed out a fact. A fact that states the suicide rate goes down after the kids are out of school and join the gay community. Not every comment or point of view that doesn’t agree with yours isn’t bullying. If that is how you think you must think that you are being bullied 24/7.

  • the other Greg

    @B Damion: “I survived the worst kind of bullying…”

    If you did, why do you expect the entire “gay community” to agree with you, and assume that anyone who doesn’t agree with you on an internet forum is being “meen” (sic) to you?

    Has a gay adult ever physically beat you up?

    You have such a weird notion of what “bullying” is that I doubt you were actually bullied as a kid.

  • the other Greg

    @ntableman: That’s an awe-inspiring comment. But it describes a process I’ve always wondered about.

    I think of it as “detachment” but I’m not sure how it develops (when it develops). I was bullied for years and suddenly one week when I was 16 I had the detached attitude you describe, and everything looked different.


    In THIS day and age, when your child comes home hysterical, crying about serious bullying, YOIU had BETTER think seriously about a move elsewhere…FAST!!! Crying over a coffin, when you did NOTHING, is a lame excuse…..

  • MikeYurkonis

    This was bad parenting, nothing more. Kids have been getting picked on forever, this kid took the cowards way out because he had other issues other than being gay. How could his parents not know he was so down? It’s not even the fault of the kids that might have picked on him, it’s his parents job to protect him and they didn’t. Doesn’t matter if he was gay or not, he reached his breaking point.

  • Mark

    hi guy many time I wanted to take my life I met this guy he save me by introducing me to a gay guy my age we are now helping each other.

  • iwillnottrade

    May Carlos Vigil Rest in the good peace he sought. There are many young and older gay people who have this same dialogue running through their daily thoughts. Some will seek calm in substances and some will seek calm by ending it all and unfortunately Carlos felt he had to chose the more finite and immediate route to end the external tortures and the internal voices of self-hate this bred.

    None of us have a moral right to judge this young man. This is a time, if we call ourselves Christians, Jews or Muslims to remember the lessons of the scripture and not as interpreted by hate mongers. The voice of Jesus in Mark (tried to teach us to love and not to judge because we are all sinful people and not entitled to judge people like Carlos who did no harm except to himself and those who truly loved him.

    I wish some people who think more before the post comments and when thinking at least try to be thoughtful and caring and tap into the love that only children know. THIS IS sad – plain and simple. God bless Carlos and his family.

  • Deepdow

    @B Damion:

    You incorrectly assumed that his bullying would have continued by gay people. That’s what you said. I’m glad you’re done.

  • Author G D Grace

    This is why I write, in hopes of inspiring young people so that they won’t feel so alone. It is by the Grace of The Almighty that I’m still kicking around here. This hurts my heart every time. RIP, Carlos, I wish you could’ve have seen what possibly awaited you outside the restricted walls of school….

  • Jonathan

    Omg, I feel really bad for this kid and his family. I went to Cibola HS in Albuquerque, but transferred to Valley because it was more forward thinking. That was almost 14 years ago, I feel really sorry for APS (Albq. Public Schools) that it has not become a more included sort of a place. May he rest in peace and may the district learn an f-ing thing or two and keep their students safe.

  • Mark Jenkins

    I too was bullied and tormented in school for many years, much the same as poor Carlos, until I realized that what other people said and thought of me was of no consequence, as long as I was being the best person I could be. The narrow-minded, bigoted, bullies were the ones with the problem. Parents too, are at fault when they can see something wrong, but don’t trouble themselves to show enough concern for their child’s welfare to find out what they can do to help. And it doesn’t help to get on a site like this and run each other down. It doesn’t help the situation or positively contribute to the discussion. It’s a shame that no one took the time or had the patience to understand and nurture this tortured soul until it was too late.

  • Snapper59

    I went to his Twitter photo page and you can tell two things:

    1) He often told of (or there are plenty of photos of Facebook posts and text messages) of falling in love unilaterally, and I bet there was some depression there.

    2) He left behind what looks like a 5 or 6 year old little brother. Sad.

  • Jerry12

    I do not see any mention of Parental Support for Carlos. Where were the complaints filed against the tormentors before things got out of hand? What role did the School play in this whole matter?

  • Derek

    This seriously breaks my heart! What a courageous young man to be so involved in the community like that. You will be missed dearly my friend! To the family, may God hold you and comfort you in such a horrible time!

  • jeff4justice

    I don’t think I’d put my kid in the public school system. It’s just one bullying victim after another. These homophobes are animals.

    @B Damion LGBT on LGBT bullying is a real problem and as you can see by the reactions to you pointing that out the LGBT community doesn’t want to hear how they cause a lot of self-inflicted harm. LGBTs are just like anyone else in that some are nice and some are awful people.

    @Rob Yep.

  • northwest

    Sickening and horribly sad.

  • Tackle

    @ B Damion: I agree with a lot of what you say. But I would substitue the words (hate towards each other), to being very ( judgmental towards each other.) And I’m willing to bet that the ones who are in such denial are some of the most judgmental. A comment was made by one of the posters that suicide rates plummets after HS: so I guess they’re trying to say bullying in the GLBT is not that bad. Yes suicides rates may plummet, but mental depressing and substance abuse among members of the GLBT, particularly among gay men. Would the bullying have continued with this kid among gay people ? Maybe with some. But extreme judgements are out there among gays, be it against, age, race/ethnicity, body type, HIV status, penis size, being too fem, transgendered etc… Now that’s not all of us. But still too many of us. And as long as gays are in denial and want to hold on to their innocence, this problem is going to take longer to deal with…

  • Tharawal

    I had to leave school at the age of 14 because it was physically dangerous for me to be there. Did things get better after leaving? Only in so much as I was out of my tormentors way. Two decades of severe depression followed, long term unemployment and low paying jobs, loneliness, and relationships with people who treated me like dirt all because that’s all I believed I deserved. Bullying has a far greater impact on a person’s psyche than any of the “it get’s better” campaigners are letting on. At 49 I still feel the torment of my 14 year old self.

  • adam madam

    @B Damion and @Jeff4Justice: I agree fully that gay men can exert as much pressure on a bullied individual as straight kids can, and as others have said too, commenters’ hostility to that idea does nothing but prove it is the case. Nonconformists, even gay ones, become very conformist in their nonconformity. That’s why you have to build your own community of gays, friends, allies, the likeminded who will try to understand you, not “the normal force” who will reinforce the way they think you’re supposed to be.

  • Gordon

    @adam madam: An old saying of mine works here: If you can’t join a clique, form one of your own!

  • Tackle

    Typo: Should read: Yes suicide rates may plummets, but mental depression and substance abuse among members of the GLBT, particularly among gay men, are sky rocketing.

  • Windhover

    @Cam: I agree. A sense of proportion would be helpful.

  • EGO

    What a shame! I have been out for over 50 years, once I figured out that it was natural for me to be myself, a gay man. Since then I have demonstrated to straights that I live just like them. I have a partner of 51 years – married 9 years. I am a Navy Vet, I am a retired software engineer, we have owned 3 homes, paid our Federal, State, Social Security, Medicare, and property taxes. We have many gay and straight friends and couples and we have had many parties including gays and straights.

  • the other Greg

    Any intelligent gay adult who has been out for longer than two weeks realizes the “gay community” does not really exist, since there has been no reason for it to exist since shortly after 1969.

    Any gay teen reading this who, like Carlos, is overweight, should realize that A LOT of overweight teens grow up into slim adults. (I write from personal experience here!) This is a fairly common phenomenon, but one requiring some hope and attention, which can’t happen if you kill yourself.

    But to anyone over 25 reading this who’s still fat and still whining about the non-existent “gay community”: your chances of committing suicide are pretty slim (pun intended). So if you don’t want to do something (physically) about your situation, you could find one of the many chubby-chaser groups. If you’d rather sit at home typing about how awful the “gay community” is, see how far that gets you.

    If you’re an adult and drink a lot, or do drugs a lot, yeah go ahead and blame other gay people for your plight and see how far that gets you.

    Write plaintive tales of woe on anonymous gay comment threads, in a self-centered, delusional and vain hope that all gay people everywhere will read what you say and CHANGE their evil ways, dammit, to suit you!

  • DarSco

    @Tharawal: I understand what you are saying! I’m 41 & didn’t realize how smart & attractive i was until i was 35! No self worth until 35 I feel so bad for young people now. I did not think people would be doing this in 2013. I thought things would be wayyyy better by now

  • Polaro

    Fat can be fixed. Low self esteem is more difficult to fix. Fat is often the result of low self esteem. Its a warning sign. It takes time and patience from some one who understands and cares. Teens don’t ask for help, you need to figure it out and give it to them, even if they resist. They will come around.

  • cancorv

    @the other Greg: You seem to have the world sorted. Most of the people you refer to should head your coveted advice. There will always be some who need more help, but by and large, blaming others is a stalling tactic, for many a lifelong one. Good post, methinks.

  • DarkZephyr

    THIS is the teen boy *I* want to see justice for. His bullies need to be held accountable, but I doubt that they will be.

  • jeff4justice

    @adam madam: Of course. You have to have a thick skin to be human. Bullying doesn’t necessarily stop in adulthood – it’s there in different ways. One must learn physical and metal self-defense. On the other-hand everyone has a different emotional and physical threshold of endurance.

  • bearfuzzlover

    Another extremely sad story of the anti-gay attitudes that gay people have to endure in a so-called civilized society.
    What a sick world we live in, when we have very sick people who believe it is their right to kill and interfere with the lives of gay people who democratically try to make a valid contribution to our lives.It is NOT their right!

  • Billysees

    Important commentary —

    @Polaro: No 4

    — ” Kids can be real bastards. Adults need to pay better attention, including teachers. ”

    But how do you get parents and teachers to care enough ?

    Is bullying that important to teachers and parents ?

    @MikeYurkonis: No 28

    — ” This was bad parenting, nothing more.

    …it’s his parents job to protect him and they didn’t.

    Doesn’t matter if he was gay or not, he reached his breaking point. ”


    But young Gay kids are simply not capable of asking their parents for help with this situation, so they keep it inside.

    Sad and a shame he couldn’t cope.

    Much work needs to be done to DISCOURAGE BULLYING and to ENCOURAGE both young and old to ACCEPT all kinds of people and ” the way they are “.

  • QuERI

    This is so deeply sad. And this incident makes clear the ways in which bullying is often about gender policing – letting kids know they “fail” in their gender and sexuality. The discussion of LGBTQ students’ negative school experiences is limited by a discourse of bullying that identifies those involved as “victims,” “bullies”, or bystanders and focuses largely on the psychological impact of these acts on bullies and “victims”. This neglects examining the cultural context of bullying and how power and popularity work along the lines of gender, and sexuality. Reducing “risk” through intervening in anti-LGBTQ language is critical for the well-being of LGBTQ students, but that alone does not “solve” the problem—the problem remains the reduced social capital held within school culture for those who do not conform to normative expectations for gender and sexuality and it is that reduced social capital and marginalized position within the school that puts these students “at risk” for targeting and its consequences. In other words – the problem is NOT bad kids who bully. The problem is a culture that says it is OK to target gender and sexual difference.

  • Gordon

    For all the sadness this has spread, to do something about it for your community, get behind PFLAG and their programs. They spread the word, are focused, 501 c 3 for donations to help the push, and you will meet a lot of great people who really care about the bullied student. And after one meeting, you will feel that someone cares and is doing something constructive rather than sitting around doing little but talk abd feeling helpless. I encourage you to find a group near you and attend.

  • royster

    i think the way that our society as a whole focuses on anyone’s insecurity (usually, to sell them a product; sometimes, to help them “evolve”) is inherently exploitative. Some people (of all ages, sadly) handle that insecurity by lashing out at others; some (more tragically) become the objects of the misplaced aggression. i wish i had a constructive set of suggestions to combat it, but it’s so pervasive. The note just underlines the problem: that we expect everyone to be so “strong” they sometimes feel even more inadequate. That he could go from speaking out against bullying to such an extreme choice of escape suggests there may have been much stronger forces than “depression” at play…perhaps some bipolar issues. My heart aches for him, his family, and his friends.

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